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Talks aimed at forming an interim Afghan government stalled Friday in Germany as delegates waited for the Northern Alliance to propose a list of candidates for a transitional council. In Afghanistan, meanwhile, U.S. warplanes continued to pound Kandahar, the last major city under Taliban control.


Diplomatic sources familiar with the Koenigswinter talks have said that each of the four Afghan groups attending the conference was to propose a list of candidates for a transitional council and administration. James Dobbins, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, said it was "too early to call it an impasse," but the talks "have slowed" because the Northern Alliance factions cannot agree on a list. (Full story)

U.S. officials will oppose any surrender agreement for the Taliban bastion at Kandahar that allows Taliban leader Mohammed Omar to escape, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday. Rumsfeld said Omar, the Taliban's supreme leader, was likely a "dead-ender" who would continue efforts to rally his troops to the last. (Full story)

Sources inside Kandahar told CNN the U.S.-led air raids on the city have been incessant, with very little letup between strikes. The mood in the city was darkened by the hanging Wednesday of a man accused of helping coalition forces target attacks on the city; the Taliban said the man was found with a satellite positioning device. (Full story)

The Northern Alliance says it will let human rights group Amnesty International probe the deaths of several hundred captured pro-Taliban fighters who staged a revolt at a jail in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif. The alliance said nearly 600 prisoners and more than 40 of its own fighters died in the three-day revolt. (Full story)

  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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Who are the Northern Alliance and other key players in the political landscape of Afghanistan, and how could U.S. military intervention affect the balance of power there? (Click here for more)

Will the Taliban surrender or will they continue to fight, possibly launching a guerilla war out of Afghanistan's mountains? (Click here for more)

Where is Mullah Omar Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the Taliban?

What kind of government will replace the Taliban if the religious group is removed as the country's government? Will there be a U.N. or international peacekeeping force in Kabul? (Click here for more)

How are the citizens of Kabul reacting to the Taliban abandoning the city? (Click here for more)

How long will the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan last? (Click here for more)

What is the goal of the U.S. airstrikes over Afghanistan? What is the key to the mission's success? (Click here for more)

What is the White House doing to prevent al Qaeda from airing what it calls "propaganda" on U.S. media outlets? (Click here for more)


George W. Bush: U.S. president (Click here for more)

Osama bin Laden: A wealthy Saudi expatriate living in Afghanistan who U.S. authorities cite as one of the primary suspects in masterminding the attacks. (Click here for more)

Condoleezza Rice: U.S. national security adviser. (Click here for more)

Colin Powell: U.S. secretary of state. A former Army general, Powell also served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Click here for more. (Click here for more.)

Gen. Richard B. Myers: Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Click here for more)

Gen. Tommy Franks: Head of U.S. Central Command. (Click here for more)

Donald Rumsfeld: U.S. secretary of defense. (Click here for more)

The Taliban: A group of Islamic fundamentalists, mainly from Afghanistan's Pashtun ethnic group, which is the country's largest ethnic group. The Taliban that gained control of most of the country by 1997 and instituted an extreme form of Islamic law. (Click here for more)

Northern Alliance: A group of former mujahedeen fighters, mainly from minority ethnic groups that oppose the Taliban. (Click here for more)

George Robertson: NATO secretary-general and former British defense minister. (Click here for more)

George Tenet: CIA director. (Click here for more)


The military attacks that began October 7 mark the start of what the Bush administration says will be a lengthy struggle against terrorist organizations worldwide -- one that could take years.


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